Building a Windows 8 Powered Mini-Arcade Machine
Today's Hardware Friday project by Jesse Freeman is one that I think even I can build. Speaking of build, an alternate title for this post could have been, "Something cool I can do with my Build 2013 Acer W3 8” Tablet"
I still fondly remember my father taking me to the neighborhood arcade every Sunday afternoon when I was a kid. That was our bonding time and something we still did even as consoles and computer gaming crept into our home. It’s something I actually regret not being able to do with my kids since arcades are now extinct. After years on unsuccessfully trying to convince my wife to let me make or buy a full size one I decided to just build a mini arcade machine that I could easily put in my closet when I was done with it. This post will walk you through how I took an iCade, a Windows 8 Tablet and some easy to get parts into a min-arcade machine that my 4 year old and I now both love to play on!
First off I am only going to focus on the hardware part of this process. I don’t encourage illegally obtaining roms and there are a million sites out there talking about the software side of building a Mame machine. Also, I don’t do any soldering, everything here is easy to do even if you have no experience working with wiring but it goes without saying that working with electronics is dangerous so be careful. I’d also like to state that I’m in no way responsible if you break your hardware or hurt yourself. Use caution, this is potentially dangerous stuff.
Ok now that we got the legal stuff out of the way let’s talk about everything you will need and what it will cost you:
- ION iCade Arcade Cabinet for iPad $46.95
- Windows 8 Tablet: Acer W3 8” Tablet $269.00 + Shipping
- USB Joystick Encoder $10.88 + shipping on Ebay
- 2x Insulated Crimp On Quick Disconnect packs (Radio Shack 6403132)
- USB keyboard & mouse
- USB female to mini USB male adaptor (less than $5)
- Mini USB Hub (less than $10)
- Wire cutters & Pliers
- Small Philips head screw driver (not sure of the exact size)
- Security Torx Set (will need one for taking apart the control case)
In total this ended up costing me around $350 or so and took a Sunday afternoon to put together. It was also an awesome opportunity to teach my 4 year old how electronics work, the basics of wiring and get him excited about building something. Once you have everything you should be ready to get started. Let’s talk about why I went with the iCade case.
Some hardware hacking, wiring and your favorite MAME set and you've got yourself a cool mini-arcade cabinet...